Friday, August 04, 2006

Get thee, Purple Prose, out of my writing!

I've been experimenting with writing erotica (or should that be romantica?) with cowriters Grace and Destiny, and one of the big challenges for all of us has been stepping up the descriptiveness of the love scenes. We knew it would be a challenge, though, and that's one reason we decided to try it. Grace even took an online course on the topic.

The other day I stumbled on an interesting article on the topic written by author Deb Stover titled The Purple Prose Eater. It had me laughing out loud with snippets such as:
Some of the participants in my research became a little...carried away. Example? "The dragon of his desire writhed beneath his tight-stretched trousers." Ahem.
OK, I'm not guilty of anything that purple, but I know I'm comfortable with love scenes that use some of the coded language of romance novels - some of the coded langauge - as are plenty of other writers.

Truly, balancing that line between language that works and language that's just plain silly can be extremely difficult. Try it sometime. And remember, language that works for you might be plain yuck for others, especially if your audience is women. Some words are too technical, others are too crude or insulting. I've even considered taking a highlighter to a men's magazine to identify what words work for me and what don't. (Oh, the things we do in the name of craft!)

And what girlfriends don't sit around and discuss the finer points of using one word for the male "member" over another? Is one too clinical? Is it too metaphoric? Is one too... yuck?

We want to get this project rolling, and I seem to be the one holding it back at the moment (although Grace is on deadline for two other projects and this is back-burner for her). Some of the reports I'm hearing from writers who attended the RWA conference in Atlanta last month are that erotica and romantica were huge there, with a lot of the books being given away being of that genre. We'd hate to miss the bandwagon on this. But even if we do, stretching our writing muscles makes us better writers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Feel free to leave a comment. You do your part, and I'll try to keep the conversation going.